Monday, June 27, 2011

Braided bread with your favorite filling

As I’ve always admitted, I love baking but making breads and buns frightened me with the long time for the dough to rest and rise. When Jasmine @ Sweetylicious, who is hosting Aspiring Bakers project for June, chose the theme to be BREAD SEDUCTION, at first, I was taken aback. I did not know what to bake to submit (while I’d love to submit at least one bake). After reading a lot of posts @ many blogs, I realized that in most cases, I could make things easier for myself by letting my bread maker do the kneading and first rise. Now I’m so interested in trying many kinds of breads and buns with the help of my lovely bread maker :).

Of the bread/bun recipes I’ve been collecting, there’s a kind of breads that’s so eye-catching: braided breads. A braided bread looks like a princess on its own. It’s also great because you can have various kinds of fillings. Since I’ve got a block of Philadelphia cream cheese and an opened jar of blueberry preserve (of which one third was used to make blueberry madeleines the other day) in my fridge, I went for braided bread with cream cheese and blueberry preserve filling.

This was the first time I made a braided bread, and actually this was among the first few times I made breads, so I had to read the recipe and instructions very carefully. King Arthur Flour has a great recipe and also step-by-step instruction, which was really helpful. Really understanding the recipe did help, because when making this bread, I realized it was not as difficult as I had thought. Yes, it takes time to do that braiding job, but your efforts will pay up. The result should be a beautiful bread, which looks like a work of art.
Well, my bread may not look like an expensive work of art, because this was my first time, remember? :) But I liked it a lot. This is the only photo I have, taken with my phone, because all the bread was quickly consumed, as dessert, as supper and as breakfast :). That's why I couldn't take a better photo with a real camera.
Recipe (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
  • 85g warm water (I used room temperature water because it’s summer here)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½  tablespoon instant yeast
  • 29g AP flour
  • all of the sponge
  • 85g plain yogurt
  • 57g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 302g AP flour
  • egg wash for brushing braid
Cream cheese filling
  • 70g cream cheese, softened
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 28g sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 15g AP flour
  • 57g blueberry preserve
Cream cheese filling
In a small bowl, combine the sponge ingredients. Stir well to combine, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 10 to 15 minutes.
1) Pour ingredients to the pan of your bread maker, in this order: sponge, yogurt, egg, vanilla, sugar, flour, salt. Choose “dough” program. After 5 minutes, add butter to the pan. Let the cycle complete itself.
2) While the dough is rising, prepare the filling (I made the filling early in the morning and put it in the fridge to use later the same day. Take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before use so it can soften). Combine all the filling ingredients (except the preserve) in a small bowl, mixing until smooth and lump-free (I did this with a wire whisk). Reserve the filling and preserve until ready to fill the braids.
3) When the bread maker completes the task, take the dough out (with lightly greased hands) and gently deflate the dough. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Roll it out into a 25x38cm (10x15 in) rectangle. Rolling on parchment paper makes moving the bread to the baking sheet much, much easier. Lightly press two lines down the dough lengthwise, to divide it into 3 equal sections. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, and top with blueberry preserve, leaving 1" free on all sides of the filling.
4) To form the mock braid, cut 1" crosswise strips down the length of the outside sections, making sure you have the same number of strips down each side. Beginning on the left, lift the top dough strip and gently bring it across the filling diagonally. Repeat on the other side with the top dough strip, so that the two strips crisscross each other. Continue down the entire braid, alternating strips to form the loaf.
6) Set the braided loaf aside, lightly covered, to rise for 30-45 minutes, or until quite puffy.
7) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the loaf with egg wash (one lightly beaten egg, 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt), and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the loaf’s golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.


  1. Yeah you did it! Although you made it just for the first time, but almost the replica of the original, except a bit burn on top part.
    I'm not expert either in bread or bun, but I usually will to cover up the top part when I see the top part getting brown.

  2. Hi DG,
    Thank you for dropping by. Yes my bread was a bit too brown on top. Actually my breads/buns/cakes are always like that because I want to make sure they're well-cooked and I always bake them for a bit longer than stated in the recipes :). Thank you for your advice, it sounds really helpful, I'll remember to cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil next time when the top is getting brown :).